1. Trinity College and its library
The sole college of the University of Dublin, Trinity College is a masterpiece of architecture in Dublin. The buildings are spectacular, and the library is the largest research library in Ireland and is home to around five million books. It’s a good idea to arrive early, so that the place is not too crowded with visitors. Tours last for about an hour and cost between €10 and €12. Scheduled from April to November, they start at 10:15am and the last one leaves at 3:15pm. If you would rather look at it from the outside, you can take a walk in the gardens as they are free of charge from 8am to 10pm.
2. St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral
Right around the corner from Trinity College, the cathedrals are without a doubt two of the must-sees in Dublin. They are the city’s oldest buildings and historic sites, and their wonderful architecture will leave you speechless. In Christ Church Cathedral, you can admire the medieval crypt and the tomb and monument of Strongbow, legendary leader of the Normans, and cider namesake. The crypt is also the home of a mummified cat and rat, locally known as Tom & Jerry, and mentioned in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake. As the largest church in Ireland, St Patrick’s Cathedral and its neo-Gothic architecture are also a jewel of the nation and a symbol to all Christians around the world.
3. Guinness Storehouse
This sanctuary for beer lovers is arguably the most popular destination for tourists in Dublin. The Gravity Bar at the very top of the Guinness Storehouse offers a panoramic view of the city - a great place to admire Dublin by night. Open seven days a week year round, this seven-storey modern landmark is full of wonders for beer enthusiasts and history buffs. Entrance tickets are €16 (€6 for children) with discounts offered if you buy tickets online. The Guinness store also offers some great souvenirs if you feel like bringing something back home.
4. Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle is a very important part of the city. Built in the early 1200s, the castle hosts two museums, two cafés and two gardens, as well as the International Conference Centre and other government buildings. Only a few minutes away from Christ Church Cathedral, this beautiful piece of history is worth your time.
5. The National Gallery of Ireland
Over 12,000 works are displayed in the National Gallery, including paintings by Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh. Free audio tours are available for adults and children, with free public tours on the weekends. Visitors can find restaurants, shops and wheelchair access. A famous place for locals as well as tourists, the gallery will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2014.
6. O'Connell Street and Grafton Street
Both streets are excellent for shopping or just wandering around, but O'Connell Street is one of the widest in Europe If you go to O'Connell Street, you cannot miss the O'Connell monument and the Post Office, which is the National Post Office of Ireland. This massive monument and its Georgian architecture are very famous.
Grafton Street is also very nice, and almost entirely pedestrianised. Mentioned in several songs and poems, the street is worth a quick detour and will lead you straight to your next stop - St Stephen’s Green.
7. St Stephen’s Green
This well known park is at the end of Grafton Street, only ten minutes away from Trinity College. Famous for having inspired James Joyce who once wrote about it, the park also displays a statue of the Irish writer and poet.
St Stephen’s Green is a beautiful and elegant park where you can go for some peace and quiet. It is the home of groups of students taking a break on the grass and parents taking their kids to the playground. The park also hosts some great bands in the summer. Completely free of charge, this garden is surrounded by beautiful old buildings and close to all the important monuments.
8. Phoenix Park
Established in 1992, this is the largest capital city park in Europe. About five times as big as Hyde Park in London, Phoenix Park is home to the Dublin Zoo and located north-west of the city centre. Entirely free, the park has numerous facilities for families, such as restaurants, shops and bikes for hire. As it is a sanctuary for a large range of wildlife, it isn't unusual to see deer walking around peacefully.
9. John Mulligan’s Pub
Cosy and chatty, Mulligan’s offers reasonable prices, good food and, as some say, the best pint in Dublin. Created in the 1700s, this pub of one of the oldest in Dublin, and located only a couple of minutes away from O'Connell Street.
10. Jameson Distillery - Irish Whiskey
As Jameson Whiskey is said to be the best in the world, visitors to Dublin might be interested in a trip to the famous Jameson distillery. Established in the 18th century, the distillery is still open to visitors all year round and offers guided tours to discover how Irish whiskey is made, the history of the distillery and some fun facts about Jameson himself. Since you will of course want a good glass of whisky once you’re done, the bar and restaurant offer a wide variety of food and whiskey, and some great Irish coffee!